2023 February Finest Auction

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Though Willie Mays was just 20 years old when he broke into the majors in 1951, the rookie already had two seasons of Negro League experience behind him. As a rookie 17 year old, Mays was an outfielder on the 1948 pennant winning Birmingham Black Barons. Three years later in 1951, the now major league rookie would hit .274 with 20 home runs to help the Giants win the National League pennant.

This wonderful Type 1 photo captures the Giants rookie sensation seated in the home team dugout at the Polo Grounds. The image is easily identified as being from his rookie season by the appearance of the diamond patch on his right sleeve which commemorated the 75th Anniversary of the National League and only worn during the 1951 season. The priceless look of determination on Mays’ face was likely the reason it was the image selected for both his 1952 Berk Ross and 1953-54 Briggs Meats cards. Today both cards are highly sought after as prized examples of two of Mays’ earliest appearances on a baseball card. The 8” x 10” Type 1 photo has sharp edges and presents with crystal-clarity with the only notable flaw being a crease in the upper right corner when held up to light at certain angles. It however does not intrude on the printed image in any way. A beautiful portrait of Willie Mays in his rookie season that was used for two sought after baseball cards. The photo has been encapsulated and graded Type 1 by PSA.

Iconic 1951 Willie Mays Rookie Original Photograph Used for 1952 Berk Ross & 1953-54 Briggs Meats Cards - PSA/DNA Type 1
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